M&E approaches

Decentralisation of budgeting process

This literature review examines evidence about the impact of public financial management (PFM) interventions in the field of decentralisation of budgeting. It asks: What is the effectiveness of devolved budgeting models in relation to the efficiency of PFM systems, service delivery, budget allocation, citizen involvement, accountability and anti-corruption?  What factors ...» more

When and how to develop an impact-oriented monitoring and evaluation system

Greet Peersman et al.

This guidance note was developed in response to a common challenge experienced by organisations whereby they commission an impact evaluation at the end of intervention only to find that there is insufficient data about implementation, context, baselines or interim results. Dealing with impact – if deemed relevant to the type of intervention – early on in the intervention cycle ...» more

Balancing inclusiveness, rigour and feasibility: Insights from participatory impact evaluations in Ghana and Vietnam

Adinda Van Hemelrijck and Irene Guijt

How can we ensure that impact evaluation of complex programmes is rigorous and inclusive, and triggers reflection and learning about contributions, while also remaining feasible? This paper reflects on piloting a Participatory Impact Assessment and Learning Approach (PIALA) to assess the impacts of two pilot government livelihood programmes. It explores trade-offs in rigour, ...» more

NIMD Country Programme evaluation

Laure-Hélène Piron

The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy commissioned an institutional evaluation of the period 2011–2014, with a focus on three country programmes (Georgia, Guatemala and Mali). The first objective of the evaluation was to assess the extent to which NIMD achieved results in the period 2011–2014. The second objective was to assess the extent to which the NIMD ...» more

Improving education outcomes by linking payments to results: an assessment of disbursement-linked indicators in five results-based approaches.

Sarah Holzapfel & Heiner Janus

What are good indicators and how can they be selected? While results-based approaches are gaining popularity with donors and partner countries, there remains a question of whether they deliver higher returns than traditional aid modalities. This paper argues that the quality of indicators may determine the success of results-based approaches; the link between disbursement of ...» more

Strategy testing: an innovative approach to monitoring highly flexible aid programs

Debra Ladner

How can we develop a rigorous and meaningful monitoring system that will support, rather than hinder, a flexible, adaptive programme approach? This paper outlines the Strategy Testing (ST) approach The Asia Foundation has developed in response to this question. It finds that ST is a promising monitoring approach, contributing to broader efforts to reorient development ...» more

Better Value for Money: An organising framework for management and measurement of VFM indicators

Julian Barr, Angela Christie

This paper provides an organising framework that attempts to provide a means to better understand, express and enable judgements to be reached on Value for Money (VFM) in development programmes.The framework is based on, but evolves around the 4Es approach (Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness and Equity). It aims to do two things: bring the dimensions of value ...» more

Lessons on Lessons: Why we haven’t learnt anything new for 68 years

Stabilisation Unit

This lessons brief is a summary of a workshop given by Dr. Robert Lamb in conjunction with the Stabilisation Unit. The workshop discussed how to identify recurrent systemic failures in lesson learning within fragile states and consider how they can best be addressed. The presentation systematically reviewed ‘lessons’ research since 1949 and established that researchers have ...» more

Participatory methods for community consultation

This annotated bibliography identifies literature about specific participatory methods and tools for community consultation. Key findings Some donors have used particular participatory methodologies to inform country level strategy – such as Participatory Poverty Assessments by the World Bank and a donor staff immersion approach by the Swiss Agency for Development and ...» more

Measuring results


How can the impact of governance and social development programmes be assessed with a view to improving their efficiency and effectiveness? What particular challenges are involved in monitoring and evaluating development interventions, and how can these be addressed? How can the ‘value for money’ of a particular intervention be determined? Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) ...» more

Use of participatory methods in VAWG evaluations

In spite of the growing body of evidence that violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a serious human rights and development issue, there remains a paucity of evaluations of the impact of interventions in this area (particularly the impact on girls). The majority of evaluations of programmes to prevent or tackle VAWG take the form of qualitative, input or process-level ...» more

Impact and VFM of Capacity Building Support for Conflict Parties in Negotiations

This report assesses the impact and value for money (VFM) of international support to government and rebel capacity building for negotiations. It finds that there has been little sustained analysis of the impact of this kind of support. Few donor evaluations focus specifically on these activities and those that do are often not made public (expert comments). No studies were ...» more

Measuring the Impact and Value for Money of Governance Programmes

Chris Barnett et al.

How can value for money best be measured in governance and conflict programming? This study reviews options for a VFM approach in relation to governance programmes, including those in conflict-affected and failed states, for the UK's Department for International Development. VFM involves examining economy, efficiency and effectiveness, identifying the links between them and ...» more

Evaluation: Why, for Whom and How?

Henry Lucas, Richard Longhurst

This article discusses theoretical approaches to evaluation and draws on experiences from agriculture and health. It notes that different stakeholders may have varying expectations of an evaluation and that alternative approaches to evaluation are more suited to meeting some objectives than others. Randomised controlled trials, or well-designed quasi-experimental studies, ...» more

Value for Money

DFID appears to have gone the furthest among aid agencies in developing the concept of ‘value for money’ (VFM). It is the only agency that explicitly uses the terminology frequently in its policies and procedures and has a Value for Money department. DFID’s approach to VFM involves ‘assessing whether level of results achieved represent good value for money against the costs ...» more

Participatory M&E and Beneficiary Feedback

A number of key lessons emerge from the literature on participatory monitoring and evaluation (PM&E) and beneficiary feedback: PM&E and beneficiary feedback approaches can improve effectiveness and sustainability and reduce the costs of monitoring, but these approaches also carry risks. These include generating unrepresentative results and increasing tensions ...» more

Improving Impact Evaluation Production and Use

Nicola Jones et al.

What can be learned from the many impact evaluations (IEs) carried out by development agencies in recent years? This review highlights the need and growing demand for greater and more strategic coordination of IE efforts, and notes insufficient attention to diverse methodological approaches to evaluation. It is important in all policy sectors to reflect on the suitability of ...» more

Delivering Services in Multicultural Societies

Alexandre Marc

How can service delivery policies be designed and implemented so as to recognise and support cultural diversity? This book finds that long-term investment and strategies are needed. Basic principles include the importance of bottom-up and participatory approaches, deep institutional change, and ongoing policy adaptation. Poorly planned and under-resourced interventions can ...» more